Federal Plan for National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska Recognizes Fish and Wildlife Values, Draws
Sportsmen encouraged by responsible development measures
proposed for nation’s oil reserve
WASHINGTON – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today praised the responsible approach the Department of the Interior plans to take in developing the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and its acknowledgment of the unique fish and wildlife values of the region in that approach.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the federal government’s direction for the region, which encompasses both valuable energy resources and irreplaceable fish and wildlife populations and habitat, in its integrated action plan/environmental impact statement. Along with other sportsmen’s groups, the TRCP had previously submitted comments and recommendations on the draft plan.
“America’s ‘last frontier’ can remain the wild and wildlife-rich place that so many sportsmen treasure while still providing for our nation’s energy needs through this responsible development approach,” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh.
Located on Alaska’s North Slope, the reserve is nearly 23 million acres in size and is the single-largest block of federally managed land in the United States. It is especially important to sportsmen because it contains unique and valuable habitat for fish and wildlife. Millions of migratory birds use the area around Teshekpuk Lake for nesting, molting and staging and migrate throughout the United States to winter in nearly every state. The Utukok River Uplands also provide key habitat for the Western Arctic caribou herd, the largest in Alaska, currently estimated at 348,000 animals.
Addressing the department’s pursuit of “Alternative B-2” in the plan, Fosburgh continued, “It conserves the most important habitat in the reserve while sacrificing little in terms of oil production. In particular, it makes the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area unavailable for leasing.”
The TRCP supports the responsible development of oil and gas resources in appropriate areas. The TRCP’s guiding principles on this issue, “FACTS for Fish and Wildlife,” provide guidance for responsible energy development that upholds our nation’s shared natural resources and unique outdoor legacy.
“Pursuing ‘Alternative B-2’ for the reserve adheres to the FACTS principles formulated by the TRCP that outline responsible energy development in this country,” said Tom Franklin, TRCP senior director of science and policy. “In fact, some 87 percent of the reserve’s acreage still will be eligible for energy development through this plan.”
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Katherine K. McKalip
Director of Media Relations
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership